Hundreds of innocent people may be in prison based on faulty forensic evidence, yet the FBI never alerted those prisoners, their attorneys or the courts about the error, a joint investigation by the Washington Post and â€œ60 Minutesâ€ reported. For about 40 years, the FBI believed that the lead in bullets had unique chemical signatures, and that it was possible to match that lead to a single box of bullets. But that isnâ€™t true. In fact, itâ€™s statistically possible that lead from a bullet can have tens of millions of matches. After the FBI learned about this mistake a few years ago, it sent out a form letter saying that it was stopping the test, but it didnâ€™t admit that the evidence from the lab was wrong, and it didnâ€™t advise the Justice Department to review cases in which this evidence was instrumental in a conviction.
Because of the media investigation, the FBI is finally launching a review of these cases and plans to notify prosecutors of the faulty analysis. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Network also are creating a task force to review these cases.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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